I'm proud to introduce to you a new section on our site called ?Global Give?. It pays homage to the artisans and traditional craftspeople I?ve met while curating L-atitude?s global collection. Over the past year, I've discovered a group of socially-minded designers who are using their creative eye to help artisans from developing countries improve their traditional products. Since their work helps sustain local communities and their cultural heritage, we wanted to welcome and present to you these designers collectively under our ?Global Give? umbrella.
From India ? Women Weave & Amba
The first designer I met who is applying her design skills to improve indigenous artisan product is Hema Patel, from Amba. Hema works with women handloom artisans in India to produce beautifully woven scarves that celebrate India?s centuries-old traditions. Hema is also on the board of Women Weave - an organization dedicated to empowering and improving the lives of women who weave in rural India. Its goal is to make handloom a profitable, fulfilling and sustainable income-earning activity for women.
From Laos ? Article 22
Article 22 is headquartered in New York, but its soul lives in Laos, one of Asia?s poorest countries and the most bombed nation in history. Elizabeth Suda, Founder of Article 22, works to embody what it was named for: Article 22 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which calls for economic, social and cultural rights, and the free development of personality. Articles 22?s bags, scarves, native organic cottons and silks, and jewelry (made from Vietnam War scrap metal) are a reflection of the great respect for the culture and eco-conscious practices the brand has for its artisans.
From Cambodia ? Wanderlust
Wanderlust comes from the one-time LeSportsac creative director, Elizabeth Kiester?s vision to create a line of clothing and accessories that spoke a ?global language.? She left the States for Siem Reap, Cambodia, home to ancient temples and a French colonial past. There, she launched Wanderlust. Elizabeth spends her day scouring local markets for fabrics and prints that are sure to make you happiness. The ultimate goal: creating a brighter future for the local team of seamstresses under her employ.
From Kenya/Guatemela ? NEST
From Kenya to India, and Guatemala to Morocco, Nest helps women around the world escape the cycle of poverty. The goal is to have them become self-sufficient artisans and successful businesswomen. Nest employs a unique microbarter system, equipping women with the tools and skills to launch their own endeavors. Interest-free loans are repaid with jewelry, clothing and accessories that are marketed to US consumers. After the initial launch period, Nest ensures fair wages and safe conditions for its entrepreneurs. The result: authentic goods and a feel-good collection as diverse as its many countries of origin.
From China - SHOKAY
Shokay launched in 2006 after founders Carol Chyau and Marie So tapped into a little-known resource: yak down, sourced directly from Tibetan herders. Carol and Marie trekked China, following both the yaks and herders. The Shokay yak has long been a life source for these herders; employing them allows them to earn a living, and preserve their culture and traditions for future generations. The unique yak fibers provide maximum warmth; Shokay?s design aesthetic provides modern pieces that will last you a lifetime.